Monday, March 15, 2010

A 349 page response to Goldstone

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has released a huge report that documents, in amazing detail, Hamas crimes and Goldstone's bias during Cast Lead. I haven't had a chance yet to browse it all, but it seems to be in reality an IDF response, as it was written in cooperation with defense sources and uses information that does not appear to be publicly available.

To give a tiny example:

94. The bottom line was that the Report rejects the Israeli claims that hospitals
were used for military-terrorist purposes. According to Paragraph 36, p. 18, “…The Mission did not find any evidence to support the allegations that hospital facilities were used by the Gaza authorities or by Palestinian armed groups to shield military activities and that ambulances were used to transport combatants or for other military purposes…” (ITIC emphasis; also see Paragraph 469, p. 118).

Factual Findings
95. The vast amounts of Israel’s information, from both intelligence sources and reports from IDF forces on the ground, show that Hamas did in fact make extensive military use of hospitals and other medical facilities. That was done on the correct assumption that the IDF would not attack them, thus giving Hamas’ military-terrorist operatives a kind of immunity.

96. The principle military uses of hospitals and other medical facilities were the following:
A. Firing rockets close to medical institutions
B. Providing refuge for senior Hamas figures and operatives
C. Situating military facilities in or near hospitals
D. Storing weapons in or near medical centers

100. The Shifa’a Hospital, located in the western part of Gaza City, is the largest and
most important hospital in the Gaza Strip. Large amounts of evidence, including
Israeli intelligence and an IDF investigation, show it was used for military
purposes by Hamas during Operation Cast Lead. For example:
A. Senior Hamas and Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades figures hid in the
hospital during Operation Cast Lead. They closed off some of the
departments, stationed armed guards and closely examined everyone in
the hospital. The senior figures who sought shelter in the hospital included
Mahmoud al-Zahar and Sayid Siyyam. In addition, Ismail Haniya, head of the de
facto Hamas administration, set up his headquarters in the hospital’s burn ward (or
under the maternity ward, according to another version).
B. A Hamas operative detained during Operation Cast Lead told his interrogators
that senior Hamas operatives took over a large bunker under the hospital
and hid there.
C. Terrorist operatives established positions near the hospital to launch mortar
D. Hamas transferred weapons from buildings close to the hospital.
E. The teaching and training area of the hospital next to the new delivery room
was used as living quarters by Hamas operatives.
F. A tunnel was dug under a mosque near the hospital, which served as a direct
escape route from one to the other. The tunnel opening and a hidden room were
built under the maternity ward.
G. A Palestinian suspected of collaborating with Israel was executed in the
101. The following are open source publications from Fatah and the Palestinian
Authority about the military use of the Shifa’a hospital:
A. Fatah sources reported that Hamas prepared the ground floor of the hospital’s
X-ray department as a jail and interrogation facility. That was after the prison
in the Shati refugee camp had been completely destroyed by the Israeli Air Force.
The equipment belonging to the X-ray department was moved to the hospital’s first
floor or lobby (Al-Ahed, a Fatah-affiliated website, January 21, 2009).
B. The Salam Fayyad government’s ministry of health issued an official
statement accusing Hamas’ security services of having turned medical centers into
jails and interrogation facilities during Operation Cast Lead. The statement
expressed the surprise of the Palestinian people and the entire world that after the
IDF operation, Hamas’ security services took over the Shifa’a hospital, especially
the cancer ward and the new building which was supposed to be used by
specialists. According to the statement, turning the medical facilities into
interrogation centers entailed removing the medical personnel, who had answered
the call of the Fayyad government’s ministry of health and returned to work in view
of the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip (Ma’an News Agency, February 7, 2009).10
C. An article in the Italian Corriere della Sera, published on January 22, 2009,
included a statement made by a Gazan named Magah al-Rahman, who said that
Hamas had set up an interrogation center for Fatah prisoners in the basement of
Shifa’a. He said he heard about it from Democratic Front for the Liberation of
Palestine operatives.

The ITIC report includes a large section documenting how the Hamas police were officially and openly affiliated with the Qassam Brigades.

The report reveals much intelligence that has not been made public, but it also seems to do a masterful job of collating the evidence that has been publicly disseminated.

I'm sure I will post more on this report as I go through it. The Jerusalem Post has a summary.